Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What happens if any stranger becomes a part of your regular life for whom you carry a suspension of disbelief? Some times we come to know that stranger in the most intimate moment of one’s life. If one thinks too deeply, this film also questions the very human notion of knowing or unknowing which always remains limited and relative in every individual case. In the name of civilization and sophisticated comfort, sometimes we forget to be human in its true sense and this film by Ray is just showing the reflection image with mild and touchy story to nourish in your film watching experience.
An unexpected and rather unwanted stranger visits the upper middle class Bengali family claiming to be the woman’s long lost uncle back to Kolkota after 35 years of his roaming the world. The initial suspicion with which they greet the man slowly dissolves as he starts telling them the stories of his travels; tales which are at odds to conventional middle class perspective of Bengali family. The suspicious husband arranged an intelligent trap to nab him. The story takes an interesting turn as it progress further.
Utpal Dutt is perfect casting choice of Ray for playing ‘To be or not to be uncle’ who represents suave, intelligent and rational free thinker. However Dutt looks too old compared to his early films; he carried the lead role with his magnetic personality and well presence of character. The film also has some staunch Bengali art house actors like Dhritiman Chattejee, Mamata Shankar, and Deepankar De.
Ray seems so relevant even today. Yes you were right sir; we are still ‘Kupmonduk’ but we strive not to be one.
Highly Recommended for all those who loves to watch meaningful cinema.
I love to thank Abhishek for this fine recommendation.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I don’t know why Hitchcock hadn’t used fine actor like Robert Walker in lead role after this one but his character of Bruno is a thing to watch in this film with all his flamboyant theories to seek the attention. He is ‘ask me anything…I know answer’ kind of interesting unusual character here.
The use of camera angles remained a significant device of Hitchcokian thrill; some of the scenes look just like chiseled frame in fine black and white canvas.
Essential Watch for Hitchcock lovers.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The dialogue on screen created fire on the very day of it's release not because the audience hadn’t heard this sort of thing on screen but they had never seen a kind of natural anger and raw intensity of tall thin man who remained unnoticed to the audience. The Director who offered this role to Amitabh Bachchan passed away just few days ago. It was destined for Amitabh to meet Director Prakash Mehra and grab the role of angry young Inspector which was letdown by veteran screen charmer Dev Anand and many other stars of that era. The rest is the history which remained unchallenged for more than two decades. If we observe the CV of Amitabh, there are five directors who chiseled him for the ‘Legendary Superstar Status’. Prakash Mehra was one of them. The others are Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Though ‘Zanjeer’ was not masterpiece cinema; it always retain special position in Indian cinema for bringing an actor who bring the fire on the screen and ruled as idol among both mass and class audience for the longest period. The film was the first major breakthrough not only for Big B but for Mehra too; as it was the blockbuster hit of that year. The credit also goes to script and screenplay writer pair of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. What adds master touch to the film is it’s finely ensemble cast. How can we forget Pran as Pathan Dost true to his salt or Jaya Bhaduri who later became Big B’s better half and Ajit who still remained unchallenged in the category of smart, suave and sophisticated villain with his cold blooded expressions and cool dialogue delivery.
Without being too nostalgic I must admit that the film opens an era who carried my generation to idolize the screen hero and made me an addicted movie buff from my childhood days. I still remember my prayer to God when Amitabh met with near to die accident during his shoot of ‘Coolie’ and along with me the whole India was praying for the recovery of their ‘Super Star’.
Anyway, Prakash Mehra gave few of the fine films that shaped Amitabh’s career. The few I watched so many times are- ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’, ‘Laawaris’, ‘Namak Halaal’ and ‘Sharabi’. Strong story and screenplay, powerful dialogues, memorable characters, Strong cast and melodious tunes remained the trademark of Prakash Mehra films.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
What is distinct about Shyamalan is that he kept natural human emotions intact while dealing with bizarre story about a boy who can see ghosts and a child psychologist who helps him. Where other Hollywood directors required big production design and special effects while making paranoia thrillers; it’s refreshing to witness Shyamalan’s low budget quality product with original script. The climax part is just awesome revelation.
Bruce Willis more resembles like Tom Hanks here; not only in his look but in characteristic mannerism and performance too. It’s surely one of his rare performance to watch. But more than Willis the surprise package of the film is child actor Haley Joel Osment who gave mature debut performance with his refined body language even though the role is quite complicated one. It’s the natural chemistry between these two players is really worthy to watch. The film was nominated in 6 categories in Oscar; Shyamalan was nominated for 2 categories in Best original screenplay and Direction.
Worth to watch for M. Night Shyamalan’s well script and direction.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Robert and Katherine Thorn were blessed with everything except child of their own. The wife delivered a dead child and the husband adopted a newborn child as substitute and replaced it with the dead one without letting his wife knew. Everything goes well; even the husband was promoted as US ambassador. But strange events started occurring after the accidental death of Damien’s governess on his birthday. When the priest approached ambassador’s office to inform him that his son was bad omen of evil, rational minded Robert disbelieved him as mere superstition but soon he realized the power of evil horror inside his home and life.
There are many plus points of the film like fine haunting score by Jerry Goldsmith (for which he got Academy Award), fine cinematography and well editing work. However the success of film, all the sequels made after this remains dull versions and not a single one drew audience attention.
Worthy to watch once.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Ten years ago a local miner Harry Warden went on a killing spree on Valentine’s Day in the town and than he was buried in the mine where he worked once. But events started re appearing again. The film occupies the attention of the audience but at the end of it gives you feeling of watching it all: bloody killer murderer with a miner’s mask and a hatch; blood stained and severely mutilated bodies and young players. It’s again an average mediocre horror show with routine plot and few special effects scenes. Few of the scenes are similar to ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and the climax is too predictable. The Director has kept the end part open to make a sequel but audience expect better story next time.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Watch the introduction of every gang members and it gives you the feel of something extraordinary. And for this all praise must goes to thriller's new face- Director & story writer Sriram Raghvan who gave us one finest thriller earlier ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ starring unpredictable anti-hero (Saif Ali Khan) He has dedicated the inspiration to two men. One is best selling pulp thriller writer James Hadley Chase and the other is Director Vijay Anand known as ‘Goldie’ and made some of the spellbinding thrillers like ‘Jewel Thief’, ‘Johnny Mera Naam’ and ‘Teesri Manzil’ in 60s-70s. The surface part of the film is based on Amitabh’s early anti-hero film when he was a struggler named ‘Parwana’. But that’s just a small fraction of the film to which the director clearly pay tribute along with JHC and Anand.
Neil Nitin Mukesh’s debut is one of the most confident and promising one that I’ve seen in recent Bollywood and hates off to all other wonderfully ensemble actors – Dharmendra, Zakir Khan, Vinay Pathak, Govind Namdeo and Ashwini Kalsekar. All of them played their characteristic part with aplomb performances.
Catch it as soon as possible if you haven’t seen it.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The recurring theme of the film is Satire on Modern Western society’s material obsession and consumerist culture where everything is operated by machines and electricity. The leading character of an eccentric, absent-minded Mr. Hulot is misfit in the modern world.
Mr. and Mrs. Arpel lives in an ultra modern home where everything inside is machine and remote operated. Their only son Gerard has only one fun in the world- his uncle Monsieur Hulot. Tati satirized the superficial face of western material world; here symbolically represent the mechanism operated modern home where the owners trying to impress the neighbors and relatives. The film is the witty fun between the high life and simple life.
Tati has picked wonderful minute detailing of modern materialistic show up society with funny and satiric eye of an observer. The fun here is not a boisterous laughter but an intelligent and witty one which involves you as an observer. Another Tati’s trademark is his use of sound design in the film. Almost all dialogues (except the most important lines) are toned down in the background with music.
Mandatory Watch for you if you love classics of world cinema. Its one of the finest refined comedy you love to cherish in a long run.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I don’t like fantasy films more but without being too pragmatic or rational I accept the truth that it’s the fantasy which ranks as the highest creation of any artist’s creativity or imagination than anything else. What is a life without a slice of fictional story or fantasy!!! Director Tim Burton who has made some of the fine fascinating pictures like ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and I would not exaggerate if I say that this film is one of the finest creation of his career.
As per my interpretation, ‘Big Fish’ is a symbol of something unusual, extraordinarily special. It’s may be that uncaught fish in the film or the wonderful life journey of an unusual determined man named Edward Bloom. It’s harsh if we separate fact and fiction from Bloom’s stories of life but that’s what Burton tried to execute in this film- the father whose whole life is just a fantasy world and a son who is always believed in facts on basis of truth and always disbelieved his father’s stories and considered it as mere fabrication. The film is a statement to all lavish special effects crazy production houses of Hollywood that you need not require big visual imagery of grand scale but a wonderful touchy fantasy story and refined imagination to sweep the audience with a stroke and for this the credit goes to the man who wrote this novel- Daniel Wallace.
Big Thanks to all Big Fish of orkut 'We Live Cinema' community contributors- Abhishek, Athiradee & others for this wonderful recommendation. I’m always looking forward from you guys. Cheers!!!
Monday, May 11, 2009
We have seen him as one of the most whimsical funny old man ‘Bhavanishankar’ in Hrishida’s timeless classic comedy ‘Golmaal’or ‘Naram Garam’. Utpal Dutt was one of the absolutely brilliant and rare breed of actor. I don’t remember any other actor who became so graceful at one time and so funny at the other as he grew old in his characters. He was one of the original Indian comedian who didn’t require funny dialogues or situations to make you laugh. Humor is the integral part of his natural body language.
The film is Winner of President’s Gold Medal and made by
Bhuvan Shome is typical Bengali Babu who is very principle loving, strict, angry old man serving as a Railway Officer. Due to his arrogant typical characteristics he always regarded in staff as the dangerous man whose sight everyone likes to avoid. He didn’t pay heed to his own single son and left him from several years. Now at the ripe age he cultivated a new suitable hobby of hunting birds. He landed up in one of the local Gujarati town for hunting and met a smart local Gujarati village girl with whom he shared a strange relationship as she helped him in his hunting task. How his encounter with the girl transformed him from a whimsical, arrogant old officer into a lovable life loving gentleman is a thing to watch for all Indian cinema lovers.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Most of the movie was set in India with the plot based on part Indian myth- part fantasy of stolen ancient ‘shivalinga’ (sacred stone of Lord Shiva) from a village.
One of India’s legendary actor Amrish Puri acted here as the main villain who offers human sacrifices for evil causes to Goddess Kali. The film also has short presence of Roshan Seth who has also acted in so many other Hollywood Productions. But some how I did not enjoy the film as the first and third part of Jones. The plot is too thin and there’s not much room for some unpredictable action in the film.
What I dislike more about the film is Spielberg‘s too fantasized version of India. Its more seems like mockery of India from western eye. For example when Jones landed to Indian soil he was surrounded by striving kids and beggars. In one more scene inside the palace the courtiers of king shown eating live snakes, fried crabs. As if it’s not enough the soup of human eyeballs were served to the heroine of the film and monkey brains were served as dessert.
An Average Indiana Adventure.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
“The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.”
Chris Wilton is young handsome and a talented tennis coach who loves to listen opera and read Dostoevsky; in short a man with a taste of classic. During his coaching hours he befriended with Tom, a multi millionaire young businessman. Soon Tom realized Chris’ love for Opera and invited him to share a place with his family. During opera, Tom’s sister got crush on him and both started romancing each other. As their bonding slowly accepted by Tom’s family and offered a white collar job in the business firm. But chance has something else planned for him. He started romancing with another sensuous woman and she’s none other than Tom’s fiancée. The rest is show to see full of struggle, guilt and a crime.
Woody Allen’s films question the moral social codes set by the society upon uncontrollable human instincts and urges for relationships. He portrays this not like other modern dark film directors but with irony in witty tone and that’s what makes his films different refreshing experience. His heroes are always instinctly guided smart and intelligent chaps who can’t resist their intensity of instinct. It’s struggling guilty face of modern day male looming like pendulum between wife and girlfriend or love and lust and slowly driven towards an unexpected crime. Watch the character of Javier Bardem in his last directed film- ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ or the character of Chris here played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Heroines of Woody films are also great blend of beauty with brain and they are always strong woman characters. Scarlett Johansson not only looks stunning here but acted wonderfully too once again.
While ‘Vicky Christina…’ was slice of fun and romance, this one is squash of intense romance and crime. Looking more from wonderful Woody and who said you are aging; what I felt is total reverse.
Friday, May 8, 2009
- Orson Wells
It’s undoubtedly one of the classic film-noir thriller made by Orson Wells. Everything about the film is topnotch- contriving plot, dark seedy setting, powerful and corrupt villain, brilliant black and white cinematography and catchy background score. Watch the captivating single shot take in the very beginning of the film which ends with bomb explosion or the last climax scene, you will realize the original craft of Wells in each frame of film making way ahead of its time.
Wells has done double masterwork in the film. As a Screenplay writer and Director who have left not a single technical aspect of the film shoddy or imperfect. And his one of the memorable villain act as fat corrupt cop named Quinlan. His portrayal of Quinlan is one of the darkest, lousy, corrupt; power struggling ugly fat cop still looks impressive after so many years. The film also has huge Hollywood veteran star of two timeless epics- Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich in guest appearance.
Make sure you get the original first cut version of the film edited by Orson Wells which Universal studio has re-edited later on. Orson Wells wrote 58 page memo to the studio with earnest plea to keep the film as director’s visual pattern since he had paid long hard days of work for its making. The film is restored in original Director’s uncut version.
It’s always hard luck to get popular success for the genius Directors and same can be applicable in the long creative career of Wells as most of his films never get box-office success but his contribution to the world of cinema will always remain at par with Hitchcock or any other master filmmaker.
Must watch for all Orson Wells fans and ‘film-noire’ lovers.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Youth is time to take chances of beauty and charm especially if you are fair sex but what if you are male. How much price can a working class lover pay to win his dream girl? Love is blind but that blindness is bliss. Watch this sweet romantic French film and you’ll surely know how.
A bartender guy celebrated birthday party with one of a pretty damsel. The girl misunderstood him as rich man and he started pretending being one too with desirable company of her. Anyway this does not last long and one fine morning true identities were revealed. The boy was a bartender and the girl was high society escort woman on hire.
No, it’s not end it’s just beginning of this film.
Director Pierre Salvadori has kept infectious European situational humor running throughout this cute romantic film. French actor Gad Elmaleh has wonderfully performed his character of Jean keeping the professional habitual humor of the waiter with fine innocent expressions of lover. As a clever escort girl Audrey Toutou once again lives her character. She is really iconic French actress with class blend of beauty and talent. Watch her million dollar facial expressions in ‘Amelie’ or this one.
The major problem with watching fine French film like this for us is either we have to miss the running English subtitles or the refreshing facial expressions of wonderful dame like Audrey Tautou.
Experience this fresh breeze of romance in rising temperature of this summer.
PS- A big thanks to Vikram aka ‘Athiradee Kaaran’for this wonderful recommendation.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
It’s the story of three persons: Paul (Sean Penn), an ailing mathematician lifelessly married to an English housewife, Christina (Naomi Watts), an upper-middle class housewife, happily married and mother of two sweet girls and Jack (Benicio Del Toro), an ex-convict who found redemption in his Christian faith to raise his family. A terrible accident encountered them together and changes their lives. By the final frame, none of them remain same as they learn harsh truths about love, life, faith, courage, desire and guilt. The film is a statement that how a single situation can change our world permanently, although I don’t understand why Penn shot himself during the revealing tussle.
As a Jesus Christ obsessed and tattoos on his body criminal, Benicio Del Toro has powerful character of Jack Jordan on his sleeve and he is in mind-blowing form here. It’s definitely one of his strong and powerful character of lifetime. Sean Penn has maintained his character. Naomi watt is wonderful actress and she gave another proof here. In Inarritu films, we find strong women characters in supporting roles; in ‘Babel’ it’s Adriana Barraza as house servant Amelia and here it’s Melissa Leo as Del Toro’s wife who gave finest natural performance. Watch her mind-blowing and last year’s academy nominated performance in ‘Frozen River’ and you will find that what an underrated actress she is.
Opposed to her Army General Father, Lina married to good for nothing handsome guy named Johnnie. Most of the people known to Johnnie believed that he married her just for the sake of her fortune and money. However Lina refused to accept it being sweet intoxication of love. But slowly her doubts started giving her clues. The climax is too predictable and projection of the film is more romantic and that’s the reasons why I would not count it as one of Hitchcock’s best films.
The movie has two vintage stars; Cary Grant as shrewd handsome dandy who loves courting high society girls and Joan Fontaine as a piece of fresh innocent beauty. Cary Grant is amazing in this tailor-made role for him. Fontaine was impeccable beauty hard to ignore but I liked the character and performance of Jane Wyman in ‘Stage Fright’ better than any other actresses of Hitchcock films.
Average compared to other Hitchcock Masterpieces.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Ijaazat is a film telling a story of the divorced couple accidentally meets each other after a long time into a railway waiting room. The movie further leads to flashback & flash in and meanwhile they tried to explore and self scrutinize the reasons of their ill fate. Was it that other woman or was it their own failure to understand each other. There are many films based on this plot but none of them were closer to the natural presentation as this.
Naseer once again proves why he’s called finest Indian actor. Both Rekha & Anuradha Patel has naturally & gracefully perform their characters of two different faces of women with essence. While the character of Anuradha is more bubbly, subtle & vibrant young woman, the character of Rekha is more a face of traditional ideal Indian house wife.
Even though handling the delicate subject & situational drama, Gulzar has maintained the dignity of all three characters which is quite rare to find elsewhere.
Music & Lyrics always remains integral part of Gulzar film and R D Burman till his death remained the most favorite and loyal Gulzar music composer. In one of the interview RD confessed that the lyrics which Gulzar had penned for this film were the hardest ones to compose, with lines like- “Mera kuch samaan tumhare paas pada hai…” or “Khali haath shaam aayi hai Khali haath jayegi…” But above all RD was the genius music director and all the four tracks he composed for the film still remains matchless as far as Gulzar-RD-Asha Bhosle combination is concerned. Gulzar got Best Filmfare for lyrics for the song “Mera Kuch Saaman…” and Asha Bhosle got National Award for playback singing but ill-fated RD didn’t get single award for his milestone compositions.
Mandatory movie for all meaningful cinema lovers.
Friday, May 1, 2009
‘Woody’ Cowboy is Andy’s favorite toy & he’s unanimously expected team leader among all the toys in Andy’s room. But Woody got new tough rival as Andy got a new special toy present named ‘Buzz’ Light year on his next birthday. Well their rivalry to become ‘Andy’s favorite toy’ led them to a dangerous problem child who loves explosives & loves to experiment toys destruction than anything else. It’s fine animation film rich with amazing journey of toy world.
There are some interesting toy characters too like Sling dog, Potato head, Bucket of soldiers etc.
The animation is absolutely wonderful piece of imagination & creativity with all the expected ingredients of entertainment including moral message.
Recommended to all animation lovers.
The film is sensitive drama about how far a young man travels to find the place where he truly belongs. Dr. Larch (Michael Caine) is giving honorary service to an orphanage & solves the problem of unwanted babies & turned them into wanted babies. Homer (Tobey Maguire) is one of the young orphan & very close to the Doctor. While Dr. Larche noticed his skills of surgery & wanted him to be his successor. But Homer wanted to explore the world with his own experience & started working in an apple orchard. He fell in love with Candy (Charlize Theron) & learned new lessons about life, love & home.
Michael Caine always remains wonderful supporting actor & Academy honored him for his touchy performance in this film. The film has good humanitarian & moral story to tell but its too cold film to bear; too slow, too long, too dramatic & so it surely has many moments to bore you. The editing is little shoddy & performances are quite average except Caine. The major flaw of the film is its failure in heightening the emotions with the characters beyond certain fixed points.
Watch only if you bear too emotional stuff.